The Indian Air Force has three branches; the Flying Branch, the Technical Branch and the Ground Branch. The IAF offers a career for the adventurous and the honour of serving the country.
Options after 12th standard
Candidates (only male Indian nationals), aged between 16 1/2 years to 19 years who have completed the Higher Secondary Certificate or 10+2 or any equivalent examination with Physics and Mathematics are eligible to join the Flying Branch. The short listed candidates have to complete a three years training course at the National Defence Academy (NDA). After graduating from the NDA,, there will be specialized training at the Air Force Academy before they are commissioned as Officers and posted to one of the Air Force Stations.
National Defence Academy
Admission to the National Defence Academy (NDA) is after evaluation of performance in an examination conducted by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC). Apart from the UPSC examination, prospective pilots will also have a Pilot Aptitude Battery Test, Intelligence Test, and an Obstacles Test. Finally, there will be a Group Test conducted by the Services Selection Board and a Medical Examination before admission to the NDA.
Options after graduation (Flying Branch)
Unmarried Indian nationals who are graduates can join the IAF in the Flying Branch. The candidates should be between 19 years and 23 years of age and should have studied Physics and Mathematics at the 10+2 stage of education.
Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE)
This is one of the routes for a graduate to join the Flying Branch. This is a written examination conducted by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC). Successful candidates are interviewed by the Services Selection Board and, depending upon their position in the merit list, sent for training to Air Force Academy, Begumpet, Hyderabad. Male candidates will be given a Permanent Commission.
National Cadet Corps (NCC)
Male graduates who hold a ‘C’ certificate of the NCC can join the Flying Branch and will be given a Permanent Commission.
Women (Short Service Commission)
Successful women will be eligible for a Short Service Commission in the Flying Branch.
Options after graduation (Technical Branch – Aeronautical Electronics)
Unmarried Indian nationals who are graduates can join the IAF in the Technical Branch (Aeronautical Electronics). The candidates should be between 18 years and 28 years of age. The candidate should hold a B. Tech degree in Radio Physics and Electronics from Kolkata University or B.Sc. (Physics) with Electronics from Mumbai University or B.Sc. with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. The candidate should also be an Associate Member of the Institute of Engineers or have an equivalent qualification in Radio Engineering or Electronics or Telecommunications or Electricals or Avionics, or have passed the Associate Membership Examination of the Aeronautical Society of India with Avionics Communication. The candidate should also have at least 2 years of on-the-job experience in electronics.
Options after graduation (Technical Branch – Aeronautical Mechanical)
Unmarried Indian nationals who are graduates can join the IAF in the Technical Branch (Aeronautical Mechanical), the candidates should be between 18 years and 28 years of age. The candidate should have completed B.Sc. with Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry. The candidate should also be an Associate Member of the Institute of Engineers or have an equivalent qualification, or have passed the Associate Membership Examination Part II and III of the Aeronautical Society of India with Group I (Design and Production) or Group II (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul). The candidate should also have at least 2 years of on-the-job experience in electronics.
Options after graduation (Ground Duty Branch)
Unmarried Indian nationals between the ages of 20 years and 23 years with a graduate degree – Bachelor of Commerce in case of Accounts Division – (minimum score of 60%) are eligible to join the Ground Duty Branch.
Recruits in the Flying Branch are trained as Fighter Pilots or Helicopter Pilots or Transport Pilots;
Aeronautical Engineers (Electronics) are responsible for the signaling and communications equipment at the Air Force Station. They also take care of servicing and preventive maintenance of aircraft;
Aeronautical Engineers (Mechanical) are engaged in servicing and preventive maintenance of aircraft. They are also involved in maintenance and safety of firearms and ammunition at the Air Force Station;
Ground Duty comprises administration, accounts and logistics. The responsibility of these personnel is managing human and material resources.
The average monthly salary in the Flying Branch is Rs.66,110/-, the Technical Branch – Rs.57,360/- and the Ground Duty Branch – Rs.54,860/-
Pluses and Minuses
Honourable career in the service of the nation;
Good salary and perquisites;
Excellent prospects for career growth
Risk of war time casualty;
Frequent transfers that disturb the family stability